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Jeffrey Epstein is Exhibit A for capitalism’s moral bankruptcy

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I was sitting just a few yards away from Jeffrey Epstein as he sat with his defense counsel in Federal Court on July 8. His demeanor was more like an American Express Black Card member frustrated by a flight cancelation than a man facing sex trafficking charges that could put him away for 15 years.

His visage communicated condescending disregard: Clearly these earthlings who were impeding his jet-set trajectory just had no idea who they were dealing with and once he managed to overcome their very limited intelligence he would surely be on his first-class way.

And why not? As a 66-year-old white man in that class of unlimited material means, with all the attendant accouterment, he exists in a world where there is no standing in line.

Evidently, the only lines that formed in Epstein’s world were the female children he paid to victimize and the toadies who craved close proximity to the wealth and power he exuded.

Add millions and stir

By throwing millions of dollars at the legal system, Epstein successfully enlisted Alex Acosta, a sitting U.S. Attorney who just resigned as Trump’s Labor Secretary, to grant the admitted sex offender a non-prosecution and an immunity agreement.

That deal, that a federal judge has since ruled illegal, helped conceal a vast child-sex trafficking operation that targeted vulnerable minors by offering them $300 and then employed a kind of pyramid scheme where victims were recruited to find new victims.

For decades now, as a general assignment reporter, I have had front row seats for a procession of these kinds of defendants. I have seen the likes of Epstein before.

Over my life as a journalist, as the whirlwind of wealth concentration stripped so many threadbare, these guys have prospered on an unprecedented scale. In our era of late-stage vulture-capitalism, it is these most ruthless predators that are elevated before their fall by our corporate media as living deities.

Rogues Rushmore

The elevation of Donald Trump to the Presidency marks the high-water mark for this underworld crew who masterfully play the compliant corporate media that’s transfixed by great wealth and confer upon those that hold it all sorts of intellectual prowess so as to cultivate proximity to them.

As we saw in the Federal prosecution and conviction of Michael Cohen for his role in facilitating the payoff of Stormy Daniels, Trump knows everybody has a........

© Salon